Day trip to Rotoroa Island

Insider's guide

​Escape to the peaceful paradise of Rotoroa Island and experience a real island getaway.​

Rotoroa – An Island Apart. That’s their slogan, and I didn’t get it until we docked at Home Bay wharf on Rotoroa Island for the official opening of the island to the public. ‘An island apart’ - away from the rat race and the bustle of central Auckland. Peaceful bliss. As we pulled into the wharf the first thing we noticed was the ‘five o’clock shadow’ look that the island had. This is thanks to the 450,000 native trees that have been planted recently.

Rotoroa Island is the newest addition to Auckland's family of publicly accessible islands in the Hauraki Gulf. The island is an exciting new heritage, conservation and art destination for the people of New Zealand. We quickly discovered that it’s got great little beaches, bbq facilities and an amazing walk to the summit of the hill for spectacular views over the Hauraki Gulf. Before our day was done I decided that this little island will become a favourite Auckland day trip destination for me and mine.

After stretching our legs we checked-out the impressive Exhibition Centre in Home Bay. Beautifully designed, the displays of historic photos and stories were a peek into the colourful history of the island as a treatment centre for ‘inebriates’. A scattering of buildings from the island’s life as a treatment centre are still there – the chapel, the jail, a schoolhouse and a couple of houses. I have to admit, I was a little curious about the jail! I was pleased to learn that shortly there’ll be accommodation on the island. Two days of books, wine, bbq, friends and family with no vehicle noise – what more could you want for a perfect summer weekend? Though I did notice there were no shops, so make sure you pack your food – it’s a long swim to the nearest Four Square!

They say first impressions last. We definitely left Rotoroa Island with a positive impression and a promise to return….and soon!

Getting to Rotoroa Island

360 Discovery offer return ferry trips to Rotoroa Island. The trip takes one hour from downtown Auckland.

More information »

​By Lisa, Marketing Advisor, Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development